Protesters have attempted to crash a drag storytime event in Melbourne but found themselves locked out of the venue.
Drag queen Annie Depressant read on Wednesday morning to a booked-out group of dozens of children and families at Werribee Plaza Library in the city’s west.
Echoing the protest earlier this month over a similar drag storytime in Brisbane, a small group of demonstrators attempted to hijack the event, but were locked outside on the street, according to 7 News.
The protesters held signs reading “Drag queens confuse children about self-image and identity” and “Drag queen story hour is not suitable for children”.
“Let kids be kids,” said one protester.
“Don’t sexualise them, don’t indoctrinate them.
“It’s too early, it’s not right.”
Conservative commenters on Facebook in the leadup to the event called for protest, with some suggesting booking all the tickets and not attending.
Users called the drag storytime event “sick”, “evil”, and even “communist”, and some made threats of violence against Annie.
Police and the library were alerted ahead of time to expect protesters.
Families were seemingly unimpressed by the group, enthusiastically chanting “We love drag queens” as they left the library.
“[Drag storytime] was amazing, it was really fun,” said one parent.
“All the kids were really into it, it was really, really cool.”
“I loved it,” added a child.
Drag storytimes are increasingly held around Australia and the world, helping foster a love of reading and an appreciation of diversity and inclusion for children.
Annie has been reading to children at the Storytime With Children events for a year.
She has previously been similarly targeted by protesters.
“When it first happened to me, I was heartbroken,” she said.
Annie said that protests will only encourage performers to continue using drag to spread a message of inclusivity and diversity.
“Be who you are, it’s as simple as that,” she said.